Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

ALDS Game 5: New York Yankees beat Baltimore Orioles, advance to ALCS

NEW YORK — Yankees-Orioles. Playoffs. Disputed home run to rightfield. Yankees win.

Sound familiar?

CC Sabathia and his New York teammates saw Nate McLouth's long drive called foul by a slim margin — hello, Jeffrey Maier — and then hung on to defeat Baltimore 3-1 Friday night in the deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series.

With struggling third baseman Alex Rodriguez benched, the Yankees advanced to the AL Championship Series against the Tigers, starting tonight.

"It is still a long way to go," Sabathia said. "I still got hopefully three or four more starts. So the job is not done yet."

Sabathia pitched a four-hitter, wriggling out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. It was his first career postseason complete game.

Yet it was another piece of history that this game evoked. Baltimore again was stung on a close play in rightfield, echoing what happened at the old Yankee Stadium in the 1996 ALCS.

This time, with the Orioles trailing 1-0 in the sixth, McLouth sent a 3-and-1 pitch deep down the line. Eyes turned to rightfield umpire Fieldin Culbreth, who waved foul with both arms.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter asked for a video review, and five of the umpires examined the images. When they came back onto the field about two minutes later, they didn't make any signal, meaning the original call stood. McLouth struck out on the next pitch, ending the inning.

"I saw it go to the right of the pole," Culbreth said. "There is netting there, and it didn't touch the netting. It did not change direction," he added, indicating he did not think the ball grazed the pole, which would have made it fair and a home run.

Added crew chief Brian Gorman: "We saw the same thing on the replay. There was no evidence to overturn the decision."

"I knew when I was running down the line, kind of looking at it, I knew it was going to be really, really close," McLouth said. "It started off fair, and it was just hooking a little bit. I thought it was foul just in game speed. A couple of people mentioned it might've ticked the pole, but he was way closer than I was and I was satisfied after they went down and looked at the replay."

That's the way Yankees rightfielder Nick Swisher saw it.

"I didn't see any redirection," he said. "If it had hit, I would have been the first to know."

Steven Ellis, a fan from Queens, caught the ball with his Yankees cap in the second deck.

"It was foul all the way, never hit the pole," he said.

A stadium usher who wouldn't give his name, however, said he saw the ball glance off the pole.

In 1996, the 12-year-old Maier reached over the wall above rightfielder Tony Tarasco and deflected Derek Jeter's fly ball. Umpire Richie Garcia called it a home run, which tied the score at 4 in the eighth, and the Yankees went on to win in the 11th.

"Just watching at home, I promise," Maier, now a grown man, texted the Associated Press after Friday's play.

Sabathia defeated the Orioles for the second time in six days, Raul Ibanez hit a go-ahead single in the fifth off Jason Hammel and Ichiro Suzuki added an RBI double in the sixth. Curtis Granderson boosted the lead to 3-0 with a homer in the seventh.

Sabathia, now 4-0 in his past eight postseason starts, didn't allow an extra-base hit, struck out nine and walked two. "This is what you play for," he said.

Sabathia took a one-hit shutout into the eighth but allowed Matt Wieters' leadoff single and Manny Machado's walk. Mark Reynolds struck out, and Lew Ford hit an RBI single.

Robert Andino hit a bouncer to the third-base side that Sabathia gloved, but Eric Chavez was charging and left third uncovered and Sabathia's throw to second was late, leaving the bases loaded. McLouth struck out, and Sabathia escaped when J.J. Hardy hit a slow bouncer to shortstop that Jeter handled.

Sabathia then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to finish up in 121 pitches.

For Baltimore, which beat Texas in the first AL wild-card playoff, it was a disappointing ending to a renaissance season. The Orioles went 93-69 to end a streak of 14 losing seasons.

"It's been about as much fun as I have had in the big leagues watching how they play the game every day, the standard they held themselves to and the way they raised the bar in Baltimore with each other," Showalter said.

Comments
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Published: 12/14/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

UPDATE, 5:55: Trade talks apparently picked up this afternoon, perhaps related to previous activity by other teams, and for first time Rays officials sound like something could happen tonight."At this point today, some of those conversations are movi...
Published: 12/13/17